Rep. Heather Keeler, a Democrat from Moorhead, apologized Wednesday afternoon for the distraction caused by her racist comments about “white Christians.”
“As an elected official, I should always strive to use words and language that bring people together, and should not generalize any group of people,” Keeler said. “I apologize that my recent comments on my personal social media have distracted from what matters most — protecting our kids, protecting our culture, and working to make the best Minnesota possible.”
In a Facebook post obtained by Alpha News, Keeler criticized “white Christians” for adopting Native American children and “rejoicing.”
“It’s a really sad day when that happens. It means the genocide continues,” she said. “If you care about our babies, advocate against the genocide! Help the actual issues impacting Indigenous parents, stop stealing our babies and changing their names under the impression that you are helping.”
She then ended her post with: “White saviors are the worst!”
— Rep. Heather Keeler (@RepKeeler) March 8, 2023
Minnesota GOP Chairman David Hann condemned Keeler’s comments, describing them as a “racist rant.”
“There is no place in our political discourse for attacks on Minnesotans’ races or religions. We condemn this hateful and extremist rhetoric in the strongest possible terms and call on the Democrats to do the same,” Hann said.
Keeler, who is Native American, is the lead author of a bill to incorporate provisions of the federal Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) into state law. The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to issue a ruling this spring on a case that challenges the constitutionality of ICWA.
According to the Bureau of Indian Affairs, ICWA recognizes “Tribal jurisdiction over decisions for their Indian children” in state child-custody proceedings. It also establishes “minimum federal standards for the removal of Indian children from their families.”
Rep. Alicia Kozlowski, a Democrat from Duluth and co-sponsor of Keeler’s bill, said the legislation would “codify ICWA into state law.”
Keeler defended the bill in her Wednesday statement, saying the “erasure” of her community is “firmly in our present.”
“As an Indigenous woman, I am committed to preserving my culture, language, values, and community. Other people have been attempting to exterminate us for generations, but the fact that we keep showing up in these spaces is an act of resiliency,” she said. “What this bill does is continue to protect Indigenous children so they continue to have a lifeline to their culture.”